Ep191: You Have a Nation of Nurses Behind You (fixing nurse to patient ratio)

nurse to patient ratio
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What are the Bills?

HR 1602view the bill HERE

S. 864view the bill HERE

How Can You Get “Involved”?

Listen to this podcast episode here with Senator O’Donnell

It’s really as simple as:

  • Google “who is my congressman”
  • Call the number
  • Tell them to support the two bills above

There is also more that you can do listed below.

Most Trusted Profession

For the past 14 years, nurses have been rated as the most trusted profession.

Think about that . . . as nurses we are more trusted than:

  • Firemen
  • Police
  • Clergy

Considering, as nurses, we are also one of the largest workforce groups in America, it seems . . . crazy . . . that our responsibilities, charting, patient ratios continue to go up while training continues to decline.

What are Nurse to Patient Ratios?

Basically what this refers to is number of patients any one nurse can take care of during a shift.

Depending on the type of unit you work on this can vary, as it should, as a nurse in a Pediatric ICU will not be able to provide safe care to as many patients as a nurse on a geriatric unit.

But here is where it gets . . . crazy.

There are no federally mandated nurse-to-patient ratios.

What does this mean?

It means that while hospitals and Boards of Nursing can “suggest” “safe” ratios . . . in the end, the hospital can give you as many patients as they want when you show up to work.  Or, they can keep giving you new admissions during you shift.

The issue has gotten so bad and become so ingrained in nursing culture that many nurses accept it as a “part of the job”.  In fact, GomerBlog recently release a satirical post regarding a fictions hospital CEO who raised Patient:Nurse ratios to 10:1 and the social media world exploded as many nurses accepted it as reality.

What Does the Research Say?

Research study after research study has indicated the dangers in poor staffing:

 

Research has shown that by reducing the number of nurses, patient outcomes deteriorate and length of stay increases. Curtailing nurse staffing levels can also lead to poor staff morale, nurse retention and recruitment problems and malpractice suits, which can raise costs far above the expense of employing more nurses. By reducing nurse to patient ratios, that is, by reducing the number of patients (see nurse to patient ratio box opposite), it is probable that patient care will improve along with patient satisfaction, poor morale will dissipate, fewer lawsuits will be filed and agency nurse use will decrease, all of which will help to reduce hospital costs in the long term.

 

Read More

 

In hospitals with high patient-to-nurse ratios, surgical patients experience higher risk-adjusted 30-day mortality and failure-to-rescue rates, and nurses are more likely to experience burnout and job dissatisfaction.

 

Read More

 

As a patient safety intervention, patient-to-nurse ratios of 4:1 are reasonably cost-effective and in the range of other commonly accepted interventions.

 

Read More

How to Get Involved

We are all in this together . . .

As we unite as a voice of nurses we can affect great change.

Here are ways that you can get involved in improving patient ratios throughout the country.

National Rally For Nurse to Patient Ratios

When: May 12, 2016

Where: Washington DC

Information for the event can be found on Facebook HERE

The event is being put on by:

  • Nurses for National Patient Ratios
  • A Voice for Nurses Now
  • Show me Your Stethoscope

There will be several speakers and others that you can connect with at the event including:

  • Kelsey Rowell RN,
  • Andrew Lopez, RN, CEO of NurseFriendly;
  • Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH, executive director of The Truth About Nursing;
  • Janie Garner, RN, founder and executive director of SMYS.
  • Caroline Thomas, RN

NRSNG is in full support of the event and pushing for the bills to pass.

If you are able to attend the event . . . GO!

If not . . . go to the event page and see if there is a local event in your state.

Show Me Your Stethoscope

Show Me Your Stethoscope (SMYS for short) is a group of over 700,000 nurses and nursing students interested in creating positive change in nursing.

You can join the discussion HERE.

I would invite you to join and take part in the discussion. Prior to joining I already had 15 friends that were a part of the group.show me your stethoscope patient ratios

#NursesTakeDC

It is truly amazing what nurses can do when we work together.

Do me a favor . . . head over to Twitter or Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #NursesTakeDC

Let’s be agents of change.

You Turn

At the risk of sounding sappy . . . the future of nursing is in our hands.

Together we can create a beautiful future.  I would love for you to take part in this movement with us.

 

What are you struggling with in nursing school?

NRSNG supplements nursing school and helps fill in the gaps.  Search for a lesson inside NRSNG Academy below.

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Podcast Transcription

What’s going on guys? This is Jon Haws, RN, CCRN with NRSNG.com. Today I am talking with Jalil Johnson, RN, MS, ANP, and PhD student. We’re talking about the Rally for Nurse-to-Patient ratios. Jalil is the national director for the Show Me Your Stethoscope Movement which has a Facebook group of about seven hundred thousand.

 

The Show Me Your Stethoscope along with Nurses for National Patient Safety Ratios and A Voice for Nurses Now is putting together a rally in Washington D.C. on May twelfth, twenty sixteen. What this rally is doing is it’s bringing to light two bills that are currently stuck in the House and the Senate that are addressing patient safety ratios and pushing for national patient safety ratios across the entire country. This is something I’m very passionate about. I want you guys to listen to this episode.

 

Jalil is a brilliant nurse. He’s been doing this for nearly two decades. He’s the national director for this organization, Show Me Your Stethoscope. After you listen to the episode, you can head over to NRSNG.com/smys. Over there I will have all the information about the rally with the location, the time, and everything you need to know about the rally. Also links to find out if there’s a rally going on in your state if you can’t make it to this one and links to the groups so that you can become a member of these groups and help support this movement.

 

Also I want you to head over to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, whatever your preferred social media platform is and use the hashtag Nurses Take DC, that’s the hashtag being associated with this rally. I want you to use that hashtag, share your story, share why you want these bills to pass, and just join in the group, join in the conversation. That’s Nurses Take DC. Also head over to NRSNG.com/smys where you can learn more about Show Me Your Stethoscope, learn more about the rally, and really find out how you can get involved and play a part in this.

 

Lastly, I want to know if you guys are going to go to the event. I want to know if you’re going to be involved in the event. Head over to social media, use the hashtag Nurses Take DC or go to NRSNG.com/smys. Let me know in the comments if you’re going to go. Love to see you there. Love to connect with you.

 

Go to NRSNG.com/freebies, you’ll be signed up to get our weekly nursing cheats sheets, NCLEX cheat sheets. We cover everything from pharmacology, cardiac, neurorespiratory, everything you need to know, pediatrics, to be successful on the floor as a nurse, to be successful in your courses, and to pass the NCLEX. Head on over to NRSNG.com/freebies and you’ll get signed up there to get a weekly cheat sheet to help you cover the information you need to know. All right, that’s it guys. That’s it for the intro. I am excited for this episode and I hope you enjoy it.

 

All nurses to the nurses’ station.

 

You’ve done a lot with nursing. I think you’re just a perfect choice for this Show Me Your Stethoscope.

 

I think so. I sort of landed in Show Me Your Stethoscope in an odd way just through interacting and the forums. We can talk a little bit about what Show Me Your Stethoscope is.

 

I tend to not talk about my professional experience because one of my pet peeves is people who use their professional experience to put others down. I have worked at many different levels of practice within nursing. You know as an LPN, and as an RN, and I got a BSN, and a Master’s, and my doctor work. I’ve done lots of different levels of practice and also worked in lots of different areas of nursing. That’s one of the awesome things about being a nurse is being able to change your story if you choose that you’d like a different perspective or point of view or practice level. You can just do that. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do that throughout my career.

 

No, I agree with that too. That’s one of the things that drew me into nursing. I think that’s what makes this event and the Show Me Your Stethoscope so unique is that it’s bringing together nurses from so many different backgrounds. Today we wanted to talk about the National Rally for Nurse-to-Patient Ratios. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that event and what it all is?

 

Sure, it’s on May twelfth, two thousand sixteen. The Rally for National Nurse-to-Patient Ratios, it’s basically a grassroots movement. The rally’s going to happen in Washington D.C. on May twelfth but there will also be smaller statehouse rallies across the country that will also be happening. Those are being pulled together. I mean the rally in D.C. is definitely going to happen. We have at least three hundred people that we’re expecting.

 

Wow.

 

That we’d like to show up. We probably have nearly two hundred confirmed of those. The rallies across the country, there are many that are going to happen. Some of the states may not have rallies but that’s okay. We really just want to raise awareness about the bills that are pending for our legislation or trying to at least get some support. Just generate lots of noise and lots of chatter about it online as well as within professional organizations, just was in Professional Practice. Just try to get people talking about it and empower people to let them know that they can do something about the unsafe staffing conditions that we see across the country.

 

Absolutely, what are the bills and why do we need this movement to get them rolling?

 

Let me talk a little bit about the sponsors.

 

Yeah.

 

I think we need to give them a little bit of a shout out. There were two groups that were online. Social media forums that come together where nurses pretty much all across the country were talking about this problem. One of them was Nurse for National Patient Ratios. Another one was A Voice for Nurses Now. Then of course Show Me Your Stethoscope got involved. This really came together as nurses were just having these conversations. A few regular nurses doing regular nursing work decided to try to do something about it and to connect people. Those are the groups that are sponsoring the bill. It’s also supported by The Illinois Nurses Association and also hirenurses.com out of Boston. Which is really helpful.

 

The bills … Let’s get into the bills a little bit … S864 National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act and HR1602 Nurse Staffing Standards for Patient Safety and Quality Care Act, these are the two bills we would like to be introduced as legislation. These bills seek to establish a federal standard for safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios in acute-care hospitals. They basically would set a maximum number of patients for which each nurse would be allowed to care for during a given shift.

 

Okay.

 

The way we landed on this problem at Show Me Your Stethoscope was we have a … We’ll get into Show Me Your Stethoscope in a moment. We have a large social media platform. It’s a Facebook group. We’re a non-profit organization but we have this large group around seven hundred thousand nurses and other allied health professionals but mostly nurses. We just started polling them and asking them you know what is the issue that really … If you could change something, what is it? Overwhelmingly, nurse-to-patient ratios were the number one problem that nurses talked about. There were many others.

 

We’re not just talking about in acute-care settings. If you work in a dialysis unit, if you work in long-term care, those ratios can also be unsafe. What we heard people talking about was they have unsafe ratios. They feel disempowered They don’t feel like anything can be done about it. There was a little bit of a disconnect in terms of who to blame for that, like who’s at fault for this.

 

Our group really tried to take a step back and really look at what the problem was. It’s really not about nurse managers, nurse managers are nurses. It’s really not about being against hospital administrators or hospitals because they have their job to do as well. It’s really about having a standard that is safe and following what the science tells us. Which is that if nurses in certain care settings have more than a certain allotted number of patients that mortality and morbidity will go up. That they’re more likely to make mistakes. Essentially the care just won’t be as good.

 

We do know that some of the bigger nursing organizations, the more well-known nursing organizations, have been working on these problems for a very long time. National Nurses United out in California, the California Nurses Association they have legislation across the state that mandates safe staffing ratios. However, there are huge disparities across the country. If you’re in California, you’d probably be doing fairly well. If you’re in Florida though …

 

That’s going to be a different story.

 

That was one of the beautiful things about our group at Show Me Your Stethoscope is that we were able to not only to have people engaging from places like California but also places like Florida or Arizona where they don’t have this kind of legislation in place. People were engaging in this dialogue. It was very intense but it also was enlightening to see just the huge disparities. Also, through the process of trying to put this movement together we have found out there are lots of roadblocks in place. We can talk about that a little later. Those are the bills. What the movement wants to do is really to generate as much publicity about these bills as possible. That’s for professional people, that’s for lay people, that’s for professional organizations, we want everyone to know that this is a possibility. This can happen. If they need bipartisan support, they’re almost always only supported by Democrats.

 

Really?

 

Yes.

 

That’s strange.

 

Unfortunately. Traditionally I think the conservative kind of ideas is that less regulation is a good thing.

 

Yeah, yeah.

 

We would like to have conservative legislators to support these bills because they really are about their family members.

 

Absolutely.

 

They’re really about what’s happening in their state and just following the science. We’re not saying that nurses want to have like one patient per shift and not have to do any work. We’re saying follow the science. The science tells us that there are some standards in place that we could follow and we could make patients safer. Take care of our nurses a little bit better because they also don’t burn out as much if you give them a decent workload.

 

I think that’s where people might get confused when they first hear these types of bills. It’s like “Well nurses just don’t want to work. They just want less workload, less-“. I think anyone that’s worked in a hospital or is a nurse knows that couldn’t be farther from the truth. This is just to kind of create more safety for everyone. Then like you said it has those other impacts too. Where nurses are going to last longer in a hospital. They’ll be better mortality. It’s just a better all around-

 

Right.

 

If we can get these mandated ratios.

 

Right, for those who may be a little bit skeptical, I encourage you to go out do your own research. There are lots of people writing about this all the time.

 

A counterargument may be that it’s more expensive maybe but that’s not necessarily true. There’s literature out there that talks about how providing a safe environment for patients and for staff actually decreases morbidity, mortality, and actually does cut cost. It’s not necessarily this idea that’s going to be super expensive but there are roadblocks and reasons why some lobbyist may not want this to pass because it does mean that you have to adhere to some standards that maybe you wouldn’t have to otherwise.

 

Yeah, you spoke to it a little bit about how these bills have been stalled up and things. Can you talk a little bit more about why and how this rally might help kind of push those forward?

 

One of the issues is that we need bipartisan support so we encourage anyone who’s a conservative legislator to please take a look at these bills. They will affect your constituents and your family members most likely because everyone knows someone who has to be sick and in the hospital. One of the other issues is that there’s … Show Me Your Stethoscope actually is hoping to address this particular problem but there’s huge division within professional nursing, okay. These divisions go along levels of practice.

 

Yes.

 

If you’re an LPN versus a person with a DNP or a doctorate of some kind, there’s huge differences in the ways that we practice. That is I think a good thing but also it tends to divide us a little bit when we get into the who’s better kind of conversation. Those are very common … I call them fossils. They are really, really, old, old, old conversations. They really don’t help us to come together.

 

[crosstalk 00:14:36]

 

If you count all the LPNs and all the licensed registered nurses in the United States, you have over five million licensed nursing staff.

 

Golly, yeah.

 

If all of those people just decided to kind of push for one specific goal, that’s a lot of power. However, we’re divided by level of practice, we’re divided by geography, by political affiliation. One of the most important things that we’re divided by is the method to actually achieve some kind of safe staffing mandate. Without getting too deep into it, I will say that two of the bigger professional organizations, the NNU National Nurses United, and the ANA American Nurses Association, kind of have different ideas about how to make that happen.

 

Okay.

 

Nurses are very passionate about their dedication to those institutions.

 

Yes.

 

We really appreciate that because I think it’s a great thing to stand with your professional organization and for them to stand to with you. The problem lies in that if you can’t agree on the method then you have people divided along those lines. Then you can’t get those five thousand people to necessarily get on the same page.

 

Sure.

 

What our group is saying at Show Me Your Stethoscope is that the methods are important. We appreciate the methods. We appreciate dialogue about the methods but we really need unity. We really need people to just come together. Regardless of what method you support, whether you’re pro-union, whether you’re anti-union, whether you’re pro-ANA or anti-ANA, regardless of where you’re home professional organization lies, we really would just like you to get involved. Start the conversation. Try to move this conversation along.

 

The method we can sort that out but we really need to come together because we have a really, really powerful movement that can happen. I think that it is happening. Nurses are starting to … After much discussion in our social media forum, nurses are starting to see that there actually is a different way of approaching this and that we don’t necessarily have to be divided. That’s part of the work that we do at Show Me Your Stethoscope is trying to just put the dinosaurs to rest and come up with some new ideas.

 

No, I think that’s really, really well said too. One thing I always say to my audience and things like that is that we’re all in this together. You know we might not disagree on politics or whatever but we’re all in nursing together. We do need to come together to help it move forward in the ways that we all can agree on. We all want patient safety. That’s something we can all agree on. We can come together. Like you said, we can disagree on certain parts of it but the important thing is that we ban together. We use our voice that we do have to make things happen.

 

Right, I mean I’ve been very fortunate. I come from very humble beginnings if you see my bio. You can go to smysofficial.com and look under the tab “Team” and you can see my bio. You can see that I’ve climbed the nursing ladder slowly over many many years.

 

For me to be able to have conversations with the executives at the American Nurses Association or to talk to the state-level chapters for National Nurses United, It’s really amazing to be able to have conversations with these high-level kind of individuals who are doing great work. It’s really a privilege to be able to know them and they’re all really excellent, amazing people.

 

At the same time the very old conversations keep coming up, in terms of, alliances and all the old politics of nursing. I would say if we could do anything with the movement, if we could put some of those things to rest, kind of move forward, sort of rebrand what professional nursing looks like as a stronger, more empowered kind of movement.

 

Absolutely, a lot of my audience is either nursing students or brand new nurses. If you wouldn’t mind taking a minute and saying why should these new nurses or nursing students care in the first place about this. Second of all, what should they do if they’re kind of afraid to get involved? You know, afraid their school might not like it or their administration might not like it.

 

Sure, I mean as a … I’ve been a nursing student many times over. I do know what it’s like to be a student, to be completely overwhelmed with your coursework, to be very nervous about your clinicals, to not have any idea what it’s like to have your first day at work. Having experienced that many times, I know that the work of advocacy and advocating for your profession is not usually on the forefront of the discussions in the classroom. However, know that regardless of what your level of practice is, when you come out of school and you start your career you will be faced with this. Either you will be a nurse on the front lines that’s dealing with this, you’ll be a manager, even if you’re an advanced-practice nurse. Regardless of your level of practice, you will experience either the absolute overt, in-your-face problems that come along with the unsafe staffing or the down-shame kind of affects as you see people discharged from the hospital inappropriately and things like that.

 

Yes.

 

This is also about your communities, your families. These are the people that you’re going to be taking care of. This is your community that you want to take care of whether that be locally or nationally.

 

This is really about you taking care of yourself as a nurse and you taking care of your community. It’s in your best interest to do something. Not to wait for it to completely affect you in a negative way and then say “Wow, why didn’t anyone tell me that this is the case?”

 

Nursing is an amazing wonderful profession. I absolutely love it. I think there’s lots of opportunities in many different ways but also there are some problems that we can do something about. We really want to empower people and let them know that they have a voice.

 

In terms of, the fear maybe that comes along with being an advocate for yourself and for your patients and what that looks like, well this is something that we talk about in our forums often. As far as students go, as far as professional people go, they do raise this concern. What if my employer finds out that I’m advocating for a safe staffing ratios and we have terrible ratios at my institution? Am I going to be retaliated against, be fired for that? As a student is my professor going to ask me to be removed from the program? People have these concerns. These are I think legitimate concerns in that it’s kind of a natural response because you’re … You know you put a lot of work into your school, your education, into your career and that would be devastating.

 

However, there are actually labor laws in place that you can not be fired simply for coming together and having conversation and trying to move something forward. You can’t actually be fired for that. Does that mean that some terrible employer might not try to do that? I can’t say that.

 

Right.

 

We’re not against them employers. I can tell you that there are laws in place that protect you first of all. Secondly, you have a nation of nurses behind you. That is absolutely the truth. I say behind you, I mean there are many different groups, there are many professional organizations, there are people writing and talking about this all across the country. You’re not alone in this as a student, as a professional nurse. Regardless of your position, you are not alone in your struggle with this problem. There are lots and lots of people behind you. We want people to know that they’re not alone. Just knowing that I think empowers people quite a bit because now they know that they’re not just working in their little clinic in the suburb somewhere. They actually have people all around the country that are working to the same end.

 

I love that quote. You have a nation of nurses behind you. That’s a very empowering quote for sure.

 

Absolutely, I think so.

 

How can people get involved on different levels as far as going to the event or supporting it or what can people do?

 

If you’re on Facebook, you can go to SMYS for Change which is the advocacy division of Show Me Your Stethoscope. You just apply to be in the group. Once you get in the group you go to the penned posts and you will see a list of all the state chapters across the country. Then you can just involve yourself in the forum from there or you can find your state and find out what people are doing in your state. How are they organizing? How are they coming together? What are students doing? These state groups are always looking to try to build and grow and put their rallies together so you can get involved in that way.

 

If you are on Facebook you can join Rally for National Nurse-to-Patient Ratios, it’s a group. If you go there, you can go to the file section. Any of these groups you can go to the file section and find lots of information. You can go to the file section and you can find specific information about the rally that’s going to happen in D.C.

 

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow us on Twitter. We blow up Twitter about every couple of weeks. We have people all across the country that get on Twitter. You can follow us at SMYS Official or at Nurses Take D.C. If you look for the hashtag Nurses Take D.C. and the hashtag SMYS Official, you will see us trending on Twitter. Which is awesome because we decide to do that and it happens.

 

Yes.

 

Which is very powerful.

 

That shows the power. Yeah, it shows what you can do.

 

It does. It does. It’s really amazing. The other thing you can do is you can contact your local legislators and let them know that you are in support of these bills. You can email them. You can call them. You can send them letters.

 

You can show up to any of the State House rallies. You can show up to D.C. We would love to have you. I guess importantly you can just get involved and learn about what’s happening within your profession.

 

This rally will happen May twelfth but there will be subsequent rallies. We will just continue on. This is kind of like a snowball rolling down a hill. It just builds more momentum as time goes. After this rally there will be more rallies. Maybe this semester is a little too hectic for you. Get involved, find out what’s happening, and then get in line for the next round of rallies which will happen.

 

About the rally Jalil, would you mind telling us a little about what’s going to happen there? What’s going to be occurring over the weekend?

 

Sure, there will be a rally … We’re going to have speakers. We have people from the various groups that are going to be speaking. Kelsey Rowell from Florida, Andrew Lopez from New Jersey, Sandy Summers is going to speak. She is a nurse champion in her own right. Janie Garner, the executive director of Show Me Your Stethoscope, is going to speak. Caroline Thomas and then we have some legislators that are pending. We’re not one hundred percent sure that they’re going to be able to make it but we have the invites out. We’re having a discussion with them about whether or not they are going to be able to speak. We’re hoping that some of the actual supporters of the bill will be able to speak there.

 

They’ll be a pre-party. The night before we’ll sort of get together. We’ll make signs and prepare for the rally. There will be a meet-and-greet. The specific location you can find at the Facebook groups that I mentioned.

 

Okay.

 

I may have the address here. Let me look.

 

I think I’m looking on a page now. It talks about some of the locations and the events that will be going on.

 

Yeah, I have it here. The address Washington D.C. will be at the corner of First Street and Northeast Constitution Avenue between nine … Sorry, between ten a.m. and three p.m.

 

Okay.

 

Then the State House rallies will very on their time but we’re hoping they’re going to be roughly around the same time. Obviously, we’d like to have all these events synchronized.

 

Really quickly too … We talked too before we started recording. I’ve never really been involved in any sort of political thing like this at all. What could someone expect at a rally? What do you do from ten to three? What’s happening?

 

It will be interesting. One of the things that’s going to be happening is were going to have all the speakers. That’s very exciting. These are people that are very active in our online forums. Each of them in their own way has a following of people who really appreciate them. Those people will be heard and they all have interesting talking points for the rally. That will be great. What was your question? Sorry.

 

What will be going on during it, what to expect at the event?

 

Then there will be meet-and-greets. There will be meet-and-greets before and during. I think we’re going to have signs. We’re going to probably have some rally chants I’m sure.

 

All right.

 

We’ll have an opportunity to just kind of make a lot of noise about our cause.

 

Okay.

 

Then afterwards they’ll be another kind of social meet-and-greet where people will get to mingle, talk a little bit, exchange information, connect and engage with each other. Then they’ll be break-out sessions to meet with local legislators.

 

Okay.

 

Actually connect with them and let them know why we’re there and what we’re hoping to achieve. Those appointments are being scheduled now. We’re trying to make sure we have appointments with the legislators after the rally.

 

That’s great. I couldn’t be more in support of this event. I think it’s so important that we do something … If anything else, we bring attention to this issue that’s going on. I do want to talk about Show Me Your Stethoscope and Show Me Your Stethoscope For Change because you guys are doing a lot with this For Change organization that I didn’t even know about until last week.

 

Yeah, Show Me Your Stethoscope was born out of the Miss Colorado debacle.

 

Debacle, yeah.

 

The host of The View sort of mocked Miss Colorado and made fun of her which was unfortunate for them. I think they learned kind of the hard way that nursing being the number one most trusted profession for about eleven years running, you probably shouldn’t mock nurses.

 

Right.

 

Anyway, that happened. Then Janie Harvey Garner made a Facebook group. Pretty much within a week she had about eight hundred thousand people within that group. She had an interesting situation. In that most entrepreneurs and most people that start something, they are looking to get momentum and gain an audience and gain a following. She pretty much had that over night.

 

Then the next struggle was to try to figure out what to do with that exactly. Throughout the first few weeks I kind of came on board to just interacting with people on the forum. Along with probably about thirty other volunteers came on board and started to try to help build what we have now. Which was to actually form a non-profit organization that’s really dedicated to unity amongst all nursing professionals.

 

Philanthropy, we have mission trips going to Bangladesh and to Haiti in September and October. Scholarships, we have some scholarships that are out there. Nursing students if you need a few extra bucks you can go to smysofficial.com and you can actually apply for those scholarships. I want to make sure that that link is working but it should. There’s also the advocacy division which that’s the change group that we made. Our group does a lot. It really shows how the landscape of professional organizations is changing.

 

Here we are, we’ve come together. Basically, we’re not funded or supported by anyone. We’re all volunteers. We are able to get funding for things that we need, in terms of, like we wanted to get the mission trips. We want scholarships. If we wanted to do some kind of philanthropy, we’re able to come up with funds and help people across the country and across the world at times. We’ve done quite a few things for a new organization. We’re very proud of that.

 

We’d like to continue to grow. We’d invite you to join the big group which is the one that has roughly around seven hundred thousand give or take a thousand depending on the week because people come and go. That’s basically a place where nurses and all different levels of practice come to play, to talk, to engage with each other, to share funny things, as well as serious topics. There’s lots of stories there. It’s quite a interesting environment. Then there’s also SMYS for Change which is the advocacy division and we’d love for you to get involved there.

 

Last night I was playing around on SMYS for Change and I just … Like you said, you guys have been up for a year or a little more or whatever it is. The amount of things you guys have been able to do really does speak to what nurses can do when we come together.

 

I was looking through the mission trips and I think I’ll probably apply for one of those. It’s such amazing things that you guys are doing and it’s from a very trusted group of people, an organization. You guys are doing it because you really know that we can create change if we come together. I think that mission, you know that purpose is what will help you guys continue to grow and just affect the change that we really need.

 

Absolutely, I mean across the country that’s one of the … I’m the national director for Show Me Your Stethoscope. The best part of doing my job is that I get to talk to people all across the country all the time. That’s not just for me but for pretty much all the administrators at Show Me Your Stethoscope. We all have the opportunity to do that.

 

It’s really amazing to be able to literally connect with someone in a different state or a different region from you who’s got lots of enthusiasm, lots of energy, lots of experience and says “Hey, I want to help you.” They just throw themselves into the work. To connect the people together who also have similar kind of passion and drive and to watch them build something or to help them build something is really an amazing process. Especially when you know that these are people with jobs, with families. They have their own lives and they’ve decided to dedicate a portion of their life to really helping our profession and to helping our little foundation grow. It’s really amazing. It’s been an amazing experience. I’m so impressed every day at the people I get to interact with who are doing great work.

 

Yeah, it is.

 

I’m happy I get to work with them.

 

No, it’s awesome. I would invite people to do the same just to get in there and start diving around and seeing what you guys offer. Like you said, the best place probably to get started is on a group. Start to meet people, start to mingle, and start to figure out what the issues are in nursing.

 

Exactly.

 

Yeah, just get to know what they’re talking about, what you guys are working on and what individuals can do to kind of build the community.

 

Yeah, one of the ways that this group is kind of changing the ways that professional nurses are interacting with each other is that there are no dues. There’s no entry fee. You can really just show up and you can talk to a nurse that’s been a nurse for fifty years or forty years or something. Or you can talk to a student nurse or you can talk to people from all over the country and all over the world really. It’s a really amazing experience to be able to just get in there and find people that are having similar experiences to the experiences you have or just vastly different experiences. It’s really empowering but it’s also enlightening in a really awesome kind of way.

 

Yeah, it is. In the last week or so I’ve been spending time on these forums and just kind of stalking more than anything. Just kind of reading what people are struggling with. It is nice to see. It’s nice to see that people are struggling with the same things that we struggle with here in Texas. It’s not just isolated to me in my unit. These are national issues and national things that we can talk about and bring light to so definitely get involved over there.

 

Exactly, exactly. I would encourage anyone to get involved in anyway you can. When I say get involved, I mean that could be literally just introducing yourself to other people. It could be trying to find more information about the issues. It can be actually contributing in some way to organizing. It can be just spreading the word. You can go on Twitter and help us out there. You can pretty much get involved in any way that you can.

 

We also invite professional organizations to join us in this. This really isn’t about a turf war. One of the conversations that I’ve had, as I have conversations with professional organizations over the past year, is that their nurses are already a part of Show Me Your Stethoscope. They’re already here. It’s not about who’s getting the nurses and who’s recruiting them and who’s taking members. Their nurses are already here. We really want them to support their nurses and what they’re doing.

 

Yes.

 

It’s a new kind of conversation. A lot of times I’ve encountered people struggling with that because it’s a new idea, the fact that we can be unified.

 

Yes.

 

It’s like “Oh, really?” Yes we can. We don’t have to really fight over membership or anything like that. We’re all working towards the same end in many cases. So we really should try to come together.

 

No, I love that because there’s no need for the turf war. Let’s just do this together. You know? Jalil, what last parting advice or suggestions or wisdom would you give to the audience, to the nursing student, or the new nurse that’s hearing about this for the first time?

 

I think if you are a student nurse or a new nurse, it’s really important to have a understanding of how your profession works. I think that that can be a little bit daunting as a learner because it’s just not on the forefront of your mind. It’s not something that you have to prioritize. You do want to understand how hospitals work. You want to understand how healthcare works. You want to understand just all the dynamics that come into play to allow you to be a nurse and work in this country.

 

That’s going to affect you for the rest of your career so there’s nothing wrong with taking a little chunk of that and learning a little bit more about it as you go along. Just being familiar enough so that you are an empowered person. You want to be a professional that’s very knowledgeable in terms of your training and your trade and how you go about your work but also in terms of how your profession works.

 

There are lots of other advocacy kind of issues. There’s expanding advanced-practice for nurses in different states. There’s lots of issues around that around the country. There’s how we educate advanced-practitioner nurses. There’s issues around workplace violence. Lots and lots and lots of things, some of them are problems but some of them are just issues that need to be ironed out.

 

Yeah.

 

This is going to happen over your career. Being knowledgeable about that will be helpful for you. I don’t know if it’ll make it any less of a struggle but at least you will be empowered to do something.

 

Absolutely.

 

Rather than have it happen to you.

 

Yes, I couldn’t agree with that any more. I love everything you guys are doing. I’m so excited about this event. I hope that it does create some attention and some movement. Even if not, it’s going to create that energy behind it that will help draw us together I think.

 

Sure, I think if nothing else the landscape of professional development has been changed. Last year and this year, they have been the years of the nurse. All of a sudden we’ve got people that are able to connect and engage in ways that were kind of unheard of ten years ago. Now people decide that they want to advocate for themselves. They ban together and they decide to do it. We don’t necessarily have to have an organization tell us that they’re going to support us. People just decide to do that themselves. That’s a really new age kind of way of professional advocacy and all that kind of stuff coming about.

 

It’s really exciting to watch all of this and to be a part of it and to work for all the people that are involved. I’m really happy that I get to work for them and help them in any way. Most of the time they’re teaching me to be honest with you. It’s really been an amazing process. I think it’s going to continue to build and grow. All of the groups are constantly getting new members all the time. People are slowly becoming acclimated to the new way of thinking about professional nursing and professional nursing organizations and advocacy.

 

Absolutely, well thank you so much for coming on. Like I said, I’m excited for this event. I can’t wait to be a part of all this. Thank you for all that you’re doing. I know that all this is too is taking away from your family, your work, your school. I appreciate the time you’re putting into it.

 

Absolutely, like I said, I’m happy to be able to work for the people.